Submitted by: Danny Remchuk
School/University/Affiliation: Summit Christian School, West Palm Beach, FL
Date: March 26, 2002
Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
Duration: Two 50-minute sessions
Description: This activity can be used as an introduction to probability. Students work in pairs to record outcomes when dice are rolled. Students also research the history and modern uses of probability.
Goals: The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to probability, how it is used, and where it came from.
Introduce the concept of probability. Have a class discussion about how probability is used in the real world. (Examples: meteorology, science, games of chance, etc.) Show students a bucket that contains three colors of dice. [ Author's Note: There is no minimum number of dice necessary. My bucket had 144 dice, 48 of each color. Quantity is not important here, but you need a matching number of each color for the following activity to work.] Ask students to determine the probability of drawing a white die from the bucket. Have a student reach into the bucket and pull out a die. Now have the students re-figure the probability of drawing a white die. Is it larger or smaller now? Repeat this process until five dice have been pulled out. It is important that you NOT replace the dice you have pulled out. Again, re-figure the probability after each die is pulled out.
Divide the class into groups of two or three. Give each student a copy of the Activity Sheet detailing the project requirements (see Materials ). Students will conduct two experiments with dice: rolling one die 100 times and rolling two dice 100 times. Students are also given the task of researching the history of probability and how it is used today. Each group will receive two dice for conducting the experiments (color is not important). Observe the students as they are conducting the experiments. Make sure students are recording their results carefully. Students may use the Internet resources listed below to research the history and current uses of probability.
Assessment: Teachers can use the Grading Sheet (see Materials ) to assess students' completion of the activities.
Useful Internet Resources:
* Mathforum: Introduction to Probability
* Probability Tutorials - History
* A Short History of Probability and Statistics